Electric cars are not only better for the environment, but they could also save you money. Here are the cheapest and most expensive places in Europe to charge your electric vehicle.
The decline of petrol and diesel cars across Europe
In an effort to fuel the transition to electric vehicles (EVs), the European Parliament has recently approved the law to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars in the EU, from 2035. As part of its Climate Action Bill, Ireland intends the ban to start from 2030.
In Ireland, electric (BEV) and hybrid (HEV) car sales made up 41% of all new car sales in 2022, with fully electric car sales surging by 81% on the previous year.
Across Europe, it’s a similar story. Electric and hybrids made up 44% of new passenger cars in EU countries in 2022, and EV sales continue to grow across Europe, with a 28% rise in the sale of fully electric cars.
So while electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular with drivers across Europe, the price we pay to charge our cars varies considerably depending on where you live.
How much does it cost to charge an electric vehicle in Europe?
Although electric vehicles (EVs) are over 70% cheaper to run than petrol or diesel vehicles, there are still energy costs to budget in. The price paid to charge an EV depends not only on the make and model of your car, but the country you live in.
Switcher.ie researched the cost of charging electric vehicles across Europe and ranked the 10 cheapest and most expensive countries based on the price of a full charge and driving 100km.
Costs to charge an EV across Europe
Where are the cheapest countries to run an electric car?
The cheapest places in Europe to run an electric vehicle are mostly in central and southeastern Europe, with the exception of the Netherlands, which has come tops due to generous government energy allowances and financial support for householders.
Southeastern European countries also tend to have lower sales and a smaller EV market share due to the prohibitive costs of many electric and hybrids.
The most affordable new electric car in Ireland is the Fiat 500, followed by the Nissan Leaf, according to Carzone.ie. Although the Dacia Spring Electric and Smart EQ fortwo coupe could be a cheaper choice to zip around town.
Top 10 cheapest countries
|COST TO CHARGE
|COST TO DRIVE 100KM
|Bosnia and Herzegovina
Netherlands: The cheapest country to charge an EV in Europe is the Netherlands, averaging only €2.74 a charge and just over €1 to drive 100kms – thanks to generous government subsidies and allowances. Its electric car market has grown strongly in the last 5 years, and plug-in car sales hit 51% share by the end of 2022.
Kosovo: Taking second place this year, Kosovo’s EV ownership hasn’t really taken off; however, incentives to promote electric cars – like VAT and vehicle tax reductions are in place to get EV use to 5% of all vehicles by 2030.
Georgia: In third place is Georgia. Electric car use is growing here with over 2,500 EVs registered and a healthy take-up year on year due to custom duty exemptions, free parking and tax licences.
Serbia: Despite being the fourth cheapest country in Europe to charge an electric car Serbians haven’t been tempted to make the switch, and EV sales remain low. New incentives such as purchase subsidies have been introduced to stimulate interest.
Turkey: In Turkey – the fifth cheapest country to charge an EV – sales are forecast to reach over 40,000 in 2023; a 7% share of all cars sold there. This is driven by tax advantages to running an EV and a strong network of charging stations.
Bosnia and Herzegovina: The sixth cheapest country to charge an electric car in Europe is Bosnia and Herzegovina. The first EV chargers were installed in 2018, and the government announced new generous subsidies for EV purchases in 2022.
North Macedonia: This southeastern European country has low EV uptake due to high costs but there are around 40 charging points in and around the capital Skopje and the ProCredit Bank is offering favourable loans for the purchase of an electric car.
Albania: Despite government incentives like reimbursement of registration and licence and ownership fees, there were just 2,588 electric cars registered in Albania in 2022 – 0.35% of the total vehicles on the road.
Hungary: Electric vehicle ownership has enjoyed a steady increase over the last few years, and electric and hybrids now account for 8.6% of new passenger car registrations. There are national and local incentives for owning an EV in Hungary, such as tax benefits and free parking.
Montenegro: Montenegro pips a place in the top 10 cheapest countries to charge an electric vehicle in Europe. With a growing network of charging stations and green initiatives, it’s likely that sales will continue to increase towards 2030.
Where are the most expensive countries to run an electric car?
The most costly places to run an electric vehicle are the more affluent European countries with greater EV adoption rates. The most expensive countries to charge EVs tend to have a higher EV market share of new car sales and more electric and hybrid vehicles on the road, with the exception of Cyprus and Czechia.
Range is often a concern for drivers considering the switch, and unsurprisingly the cars with the longest ranges tend to be the most expensive to run.
According to Carzone.ie the Tesla Model 3 Long Range with a 538km range is the one to beat for range, but you may also look to the more recent Mercedes EQS 450+ or the Hyundai IONIQ 6 Long Range AWD to give you peace of mind on long trips.
Top 10 most expensive countries
|COST TO CHARGE
|COST TO DRIVE 100KM
Denmark: The most expensive country in Europe to charge an EV is Denmark. There are over 200,000 electric and plug-in hybrid cars on Danish roads, and Forbes has ranked it as the third most EV-friendly country in the world. Previous tax exemptions are being tapered as EV take-up increases.
Belgium: In second place, Belgium has seen a steep increase in electric and hybrid sales during 2022, cornering over 40% of the new car market. There are regional tax benefits and subsidies for EV drivers and grants for home charging point installation.
Germany: Electric and hybrid vehicle sales continue to boom in Germany. In third place, the country’s fully-electric car sales are up a record 114% on the previous year. In 2022 more than 800,000 plug-in cars were registered – almost 1 in 3 of all sales. Tax incentives and purchase subsidies are gradually being reduced.
Italy: The fourth most expensive place, Italy. Its electric car market bucked the European trend in 2022 and shrunk slightly. There are purchase subsidies of up to €3,000 for Italian drivers, but the discount depends on the cost of the EV and scrappage.
Spain: In 2022, EV registrations in Spain hit over 100,000 with a market share of around 10%. New EV buyers are eligible for a grant of up to €7,000, national road tax discounts and regional tax breaks.
Czechia: In sixth place, electric car uptake in Czechia is relatively low, with just 11,000 EVs registered. In 2022 just 4% of all new cars registered were electric or hybrids.
Ireland: The 7th most expensive country in Europe to charge an EV, Ireland registered 15,678 new EVs in 2022, up a whopping 81% on 2021 and accounting for over 40% of the new car sales market. A raft of incentives encourages EV take-up in Ireland and includes purchase subsidies, tax breaks, grants and toll road discounts.
Cyprus: Electric and hybrids are yet to find favour with Cypriot drivers, with EVs accounting for only 0.8% of newly registered cars and continuing slow sales. Generous grants and scrappage incentives have recently been introduced, likely boosting future sales – although charging costs remain high.
Sweden: In ninth place, Swedish drivers are avid adopters of electric vehicles with new electric vehicles taking a 47% market share, one of the highest in Europe. The popularity has led the Swedish government to abolish state subsidies for EV purchases.
Romania: One of the ten most expensive places in Europe to charge an EV, it pledged to build 200,000 charging stations in 2018, and record sales of over 10,000 electric cars in 2022 shows the investment paid off.
Why are charging costs more expensive in some countries?
Many things influence how much you pay for your gas and electricity, so energy prices vary across Europe for differing reasons, including:
- Geopolitical situation
- Energy mix and use of renewables
- Taxes, levies and subsidies
Other factors that impact costs include import diversification, network costs, weather conditions and environmental protection policies.
What’s so good about buying electric?
Ireland, like many European countries, offers incentives to drivers who buy electric vehicles.
On top of the environmental benefits, common benefits across Europe include:
- purchase subsidies and grants
- scrappage schemes
- registration and ownership tax benefits
- company tax incentives
- EV charging subsidies
To encourage uptake of electric vehicles, some countries offer free parking in certain areas, road toll exemptions or allow driving in special lanes.
Why buy an electric car in Ireland?
Not only are they 70% cheaper to run than carbon-fuelled cars, but there are now over 2,000 public and destination EV charge points in Ireland, and more are being added all the time.
Ireland offers valuable incentives to encourage people to purchase battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).
- Government support up to €5,000 to buy new BEVs
- Grants up to €600 to install a home charger unit for new and second-hand BEVs or PHEVs
- VRT relief of up to €5,000 for BEVs
- BEVs qualify for lowest motor tax band of €120 and PHEVs around €170
- 0% Benefit in kind rate for battery EVs up to €50,000
- Toll reductions of 50% for battery and 25% for hybrids
How to save money on electric car charging
Despite the current energy crisis, the good news is that you don’t have to pay sky-high prices to charge your electric car. There are many ways you can make EV charging more cost-effective with minimal hassle.
For the biggest saving, shop around for a supplier that offers tariffs designed for electric car drivers.
Here’s a round-up of the EV tariffs available in Ireland:
- Energia – Electric Car Energy Plan
- Bord Gáis – Electric Vehicle Smart Tariff
- Pinergy – Drive Tariffs
These suppliers offer incentives to charge your car within specific time bands when electricity is cheapest and offer discounts on green electricity. Energia has partnered with certain car manufacturers to provide free home charge points.
Electric Ireland offers a discounted EV home charger installation service and a smartphone app to choose when to charge your car and view consumption data, so you’re totally in control.
Alternatively, consider switching your electricity supplier to get a better rate. You could save hundreds of euros a year by charging an electric car on the best tariff on the market instead of the SVR (standard variable rate).
If you don’t want to switch but have a smart meter, consider switching to a Time of Use Tariff, which offers discounts on night time use and advanced insights into your household usage, so you can learn how to save money on future bills.
Don’t forget to apply for the EV Home Charger Grant, which allows you to claim up to €600 towards purchasing and installing an electric vehicle home charger unit.
How to insure an electric car
You’ll need to buy car insurance for an electric car in the same way you would a carbon-fuelled car. Some insurers offer discounted insurance for EV drivers, so compare insurance quotes to get the best deal.
You may want to look out for specific benefits like:
- battery cover
- charging cable cover
- breakdown assistance for flat battery
To calculate the average cost of charging an electric car per country across Europe we collated data such as ‘EVDB Real range’ and ‘Useable Battery Capacity’ data from the EV Database about the top 50 bestselling cars in Europe in the first half of 2022 (according to JATO.com). Household electricity costs per country was collated using the latest data tables from Eurostat (Dec 2022).
To work out the cost per charge, we multiplied the useable battery capacity of each vehicle by the cost of electricity in each country according to Eurostat.
To work out the cost to drive 100km we divided the cost of a full charge with the ‘real range km’ of the vehicle and multiplied it by 100.
Countries included are all EU members and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway; Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Turkey; Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo; Moldova and Georgia. Ukraine and the United Kingdom were excluded from the study because energy price data was omitted from the latest Eurostat data.